Minnesota Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Mother Ginger. Submitted / MN Ballet

The Minnesota Ballet will present its storied production of The Nutcracker on 7 p.m. Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9; and 3 p.m. Sunday, December 10, at DECC Symphony Hall, featuring Artistic Director Robert Gardner’s 25th anniversary of his performing the roles of spry Uncle Drosselmeyer and spirited Mother Ginger. And with multiple casts and this season’s new company dancers, every performance promises to be an exciting one-of-a-kind holiday entertainment adventure.

The Minnesota Ballet Orchestra, directed by Mark Whitlock, plays the Tchaikovsky score live, and the Lake Superior Youth Chorus, directed by Bret Amundson, provides vocal accompaniment for the Snow Scene.

Conceived and choreographed by Allen Fields, the favorite holiday ballet begins at a party in a Manhattan townhouse filled with spirited dance and boisterous pranks, where young Clara receives a wooden nutcracker from Uncle Drosselmeyer. Later that night, Clara returns to the darkened, empty room to claim her nutcracker, and soon a battle begins. Now grown to life size, the Nutcracker leads soldiers on hobbyhorses fighting mice warriors and aiming a cannon that fires cheese. The fight is desperate until Clara intervenes, saving the Nutcracker, who reveals himself as a prince.

Clara and the Prince dance in a snow-capped Central Park, where the Ice Fairy leads whirling snowflakes in a waltz. Then the Sugar Plum Fairy sends them on their way to exotic lands with Asian, Arabian, Spanish, Russian dancers, Mother Ginger with her ten gingerbread children emerging from her voluminous skirt, and the Dew Drop Fairy leading waltzing flowers—all a beautiful holiday dream.

Tickets for the family holiday favorite are $22–$44 for adults; $17–$34 for students; $15–$29 for children (12 and under) and may be purchased at the Minnesota Ballet, theonlineicket Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and on-line at ticketmaster.com. For more information visit www.mnballet.org; to arrange for special-rate tickets for groups, call the Ballet at 218.529.3742.

“The Nutcracker” performances are sponsored by National Bank of Commerce; the ballet’s season is sponsored by Essentia Health. Creation of The Nutcracker production was made possible by major funding from ICO–Inter City Oil, Essentia Heath, the Depot Foundation, and additional funding from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and the Minnesota Power Foundation.

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